The Cayuga football team is 3-1.
The Wildcats are averaging almost 38 points per game and giving up less than 18.
But, according to CHS coach Greg Jenkins, the true test of how far his team — and his program — have come this year comes Friday, when the Wildcats travel to Carlisle to face the 16th-ranked Indians.
“It’s a game that will kind of define us for the first five games,” Jenkins said. “It’s not going to make or break our season by any means, but it’ll tell us what we are. You could tell Monday when we came in, (the players) had a little extra spark in our eyes.”
The Wildcats only loss this season came at the hands of Mount Enterprise, at a time when Jenkins said his team was still trying to find itself on the field.
Mount Enterprise scored 34 points on Cayuga, but only eight of those came in the second half. Mount Enterprise gained 375 yards of total offense, but only 90 in the second half.
In fact, since the second half of that game began — 10 quarters of play — Cayuga has given up only 13 points.
“We felt like, going over to Mount Enterprise, we really didn’t know who we were that game,” Jenkins said. “Since then we’ve played 10 halves and only turned the ball over one time. We think we’ve grown up a lot, especially defensively.”
He credits a lot of that growing up to some changes made on the defensive side of the ball, including the addition of middle linebacker Aaron Foxworth. Jenkins said his staff is “very excited” about Foxworth’s play.
The Wildcat defense will be tested against the Indians, who can both spread it out and pass as well as bunch it up and run.
The Indians are averaging more than 50 points per game offensively, led by the play of quarterback Gunner Baker. The senior signal-caller has accounted for almost 800 yards of total offense on the year, and 13 total touchdowns.
“He’s got it. You hear coaches use that word, and you can tell he’s got the moxie,” Jenkins said. “He’s always going to put them in a position to succeed.”
But, he’s far from alone.
The Indians have five other players not named Baker that can move the ball on the ground, a trait that has the Indians averaging 336 rushing yards per game so far this season.
“We’re going to have to get our kids in position to defend both (the spread and tight formations),” Jenkins said. “They’ll run some offense, this week, that we’re not used to seeing. It’s tough to defend because sometimes you don’t know where the ball is.”
With such a versatile offense, Jenkins compared it to playing “two different teams” in the same game.
But, the Cayuga offense isn’t one to scoff at, either.
Behind the play of break-out star Chandler Rigdon, the Wildcats are moving the ball with all cylinders right now.
Rigdon has accounted for almost 1,200 yards of total offense on his own this year (780 passing/371 rushing) and 14 touchdowns.
The best news for the Wildcats, however, is the play of the guy right behind Rigdon — running back D’onte Jackson.
The senior has run for more than 140 yards the past two games, and is averaging more than 120 yards per game this season.
“I think D’onte would be the first to tell you that credit goes to the offensive line for his success,” Jenkins said. “But, he’s a different back this year. He’s hitting the hole and heading for the goal post.”
Kick-off is set for 7:30 p.m. at Carlisle’s Arrowhead Stadium (8960 FM 13, Price, Texas 75687).
Sports editor Justin Rains can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Cayuga football team is 3-1.
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